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The best results come from pushing yourself

April 23, 2014

More than 100 students from 38 different academic programs at Appalachian State University were involved in the campus production of “Kiss Me, Kate” at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts in April 2014. Among them was scholarship recipient Drew Griffin playing the part of Harrison Howell.

A senior in the Hayes School of Music, Griffin is double majoring in music education with a choral concentration and in music performance with a vocal concentration.

“Appalachian has taught me that the best results come from pushing yourself – making yourself do more than you think you can – and Appalachian provides an environment which nurtures that idea,” he says.

For the past four years, Griffin has received the Mary Dare Edwards Endowed Memorial Scholarship. In appreciation for donor support, he cites a quotation from the German theologian, musician and physician Albert Schweitzer: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

“Any musician can tell you about the struggles – the times when you’re overwhelmed, worried or scared, the times our light goes out,” Griffin explains. “In those times, at least in my life, this scholarship has been the spark. The idea that someone else believes so much in me as to commit the fruits of their work for me to just keep trying is valuable so far beyond the monetary support.”

He said Appalachian’s well-respected music school drew him to the mountains and that he loves the close interaction with faculty and diverse opportunities he’s had as a student.

Griffin has interned with area church choirs and directed the Wilkes Community Youth Singers. He also has performed in three productions of Appalachian’s Opera Theatre, served as president of the College Music Society chapter and participated in two group presentations at the College Music Society National Conference. He received the Mariam Cannon Hayes Music Excellence Award in 2011-12.

The young vocalist will graduate in December 2014 and plans to pursue a doctorate in ethnomusicology.

“Kiss Me, Kate” was presented April 11-13. 2014, as a collaboration between Appalachian’s Performing Arts Series, Department of Theatre and Dance and the Hayes School of Music. It was the university's largest artistic collaboration in more than 15 years, and more than 1,700 people attended. It was directed by Keith Martin, Appalachian’s John M. Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Theatre, and conducted by Chung Park, an assistant professor in the Hayes School of Music. Originally produced on Broadway in 1948, “Kiss Me, Kate” features the music of Cole Porter and was revised in 1999 to reflect evolutions in music technology and social values.